TALL SHIPS RACE FROM KARLSKRONA TO HELSINKI
By Sylvia Kapp
Onboard: Graham Sturdy (Skipper), Clive Brown (Mate), Ben Stephens, Crispian Brown,
Richard Eastman, Veronica Thornton, Sue Vivien, Cathy Latham, Sylvia Kapp
This was one of the most enjoyable cruises I have been on. We met Marabu in the beautiful city of Copenhagen and had ideal conditions for sail-training during our two-day passage to Karlskrona, a charming little Swedish port. There we spent five days sightseeing, going to Race-organised beach barbecues, socialising with our fellow competitors, and generally relaxing – as well as repairing sails and planking in Marabu’s bows.
After an impressive ‘parade of sail’ of the 60-strong fleet past the King of Sweden’s ship, the race started. Despite the light winds we managed to blow out the no. 1 spinnaker five minutes after crossing the starting line, which was to prove a severe handicap in the days to follow. Much of the race was spent drifting along in a few knots of wind, which although frustrating, was very pleasant since Scandinavia was in the middle of an almost unknown heatwave. But towards Finland we encountered stronger, favourable winds and had an exhilarating day’s sailing, averaging 10 knots for several hours.
Arriving in port, though with a disappointing finish time after handicap, we discovered the delights of Helsinki. The continuous daylight and warm temperatures made a beach barbecue with Marabu’s sister ships Kranich and Flamingo and several other yachts particularly memorable, swimming overboard at 2am being idyllic in the climate with the sun still on the horizon.
Although rather short on sailing, the combination of the Baltic in a heatwave and friendly camaraderie and atmosphere of the race made it a wonderful holiday and altogether a experience not to be missed.